December 4, 2020
Voting by mail? Track your election ballot like a FedEx package in every state -- here's how

Over 57 million people already voted by mail. How do I track my ballot in my state?


Election voter information guide

You can keep track of your mail-in ballot online.


James Martin/CNET

This story is part of Elections 2020, CNET’s coverage of the run-up to voting in November.

Election Day on Nov. 3 is just three days away, but millions of Americans have already opted to vote early, with over 90 million votes already sent in. More than 57 million of those are mail-in votes. If you’ve decided to vote by mail this election, you can track your ballot online after you vote. Most states offer a way to let you see where your ballot is online, so you know when it’s received before your state’s deadline. 

If you’re concerned about voting by mail, know there’s been no evidence of coordinated vote-by-mail fraud, with fewer than 150 criminal convictions for the crime over the last 20 years. Here are some ways to make sure your vote will count

Be aware that different states have different deadlines for mail-in ballots. Some deadlines to mail in your vote have already passed, while others will allow you to vote by mail through the evening of Nov. 3.

The way your ballot is tracked may differ state by state, or even county by county. For example, BallotTrax is one service your state might use, but others have their own services or rely on the US Postal Service to monitor a ballot’s whereabouts. The Associated Press is also counting and verifying election returns throughout the US.

Depending on where you live, you may be required to enter information such as your first and last name, date of birth and sometimes your Social Security number. It’s always a good idea — and, in the case of USPS, it’s necessary — to save the tracking number on your ballot to help locate its whereabouts. States like Wyoming and Mississippi require you to call your county clerk’s office for tracking information.

After you vote, here’s how to track your ballot online in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Read more: How to watch election night results on Nov. 3


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